Hamilton Boys' High School and St Margaret College shared top honours with six medals each after the first day of finals at the Maadi Cup rowing championship.
With 24 finals still to come tomorrow at Lake Karapiro, Hamilton Boys' has three golds and three silvers while St Margaret's of Christchurch has four golds and two silvers.
The prestigious Springfield Shield, awarded to the winners of the under-18 boys' four, will head back to Hamilton after the local crew held off the advances of Auckland Grammar to wrest back a title they have dominated.
St Margaret's, meanwhile, earned the Dawn Cup after winning the under-18 girls' four, enjoying clear water ahead of defending champions Waikato Diocesan in the final race of the day.
Both Hamilton Boys' and St Margaret's will take confidence from their form today into tomorrow's eights, the blue riband event of the regatta.
Forty schools managed a medal on the first day of finals in perfect conditions at the Waikato lake. Auckland Grammar drew first blood in the under-18 boys' pairs, beating Hamilton Boys' to the line by just 0.3 seconds, while St Margaret's took the gold very convincingly in the under-18 girls' pair.
Dunedin's Kavanagh College showed they were a team to be reckoned with in the small boats, with Jack O'Leary taking out the boys' under-17 single and Zoe McBride and Hannah Duggan winning the girls' under-18 double.
Local team St Peter's College won the boys' under-16 quad, St Bede's won the under-17 eights, while Tauranga Boys' College took out the boys' under-18 quad.
Whakatane High School won the boys' under-17 double, while the under-17 girls' single scull was won by Hannah Bailey, the lone representative from Havelock North school Woodford House.